The bellster network phone sharing service.

Taking the concept of peer-to-peer telephony one step further, Bellster [archive link] is the brainchild of Jeff Pulver, one of the people who initiated the free world dialup [archive link] project back in 1995 (that’s 40 years ago in human years).

The concept is simple: let other members of the network make outgoing calls through your home phone line in exchange for the ability to do the same via theirs. If the community grows to an acceptable size, there should be enough nodes spread around the world to permit the routing of most calls through a line local to their destination.

The implementation, on the other hand, is not for your average Skype user: you need to have a Linux box running Asterisk, the open-source PBX software, and equipped with the appropriate hardware for interfacing with a PSTN line. Not an easy setup (I’ve been there), even without Bellster [archive link] added to the mix.

It’ll be interesting to see how many geeks “share the love”.

update: The name has now been changed to fwdOUT.